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With Wharton again coming top of the latest Financial Times (FT) rankings, and Chicago coming top of the latest Business Week (BW) rankings, their Deans should be popping champagne. Dipak Jain, Dean of Kellogg, which was deposed from the top perch of BW, should be suffering anxiety attacks. The reality however, is that Business School officials have become more sanguine about rankings in recent years, as the proliferation of rankings reinforces their skepticism and as they realize that rankings seem to be steadily losing their impact with MBA applicants around the world.
Although The Wharton School still tops rankings, Dean Pat Harker argues â€œSome people believe that if the rankings help us, who cares if they are flawed or give a limited view of the school? But we canâ€™t have it both ways. We either endorse a defective, inconsistent practice, or we speak out and â€¦work with the media to enable them to report with more useful, objective data.â€
I think the article and the survery mentioned in the article are drawing a flawed conclusion.
According to the article, a survey asked MBA applicants what the most important factor was influencing their choice of schools. The results: #1 School's reputation, #2 Placement prospects, #3 Financial Aid .....and down to lowly #6 is Rankings.
Well I guess if you ask people a question with mutually inclusive choices you're going to get results as flawed as the question. Rankings are a big part of making a school's reputation the same way a report card is part of making someone's academic reputation. So if you're trying to pick the valedictorian of a high school class what's more important their academic reputation or their GPA? The reputation is kind of informed by the GPA, you can't really think of them as completely separate things. Of course no one is going to say rankings are the most important part of selecting schools, but they're crucial. It's like the most important part of a road trip is having gas in your tank, friends in the back seat, but without a map how do you know where the hel to go.
The parameters that go into the ranking system take into account things like placement etc. I'll step down off my soap box now.
I agree with Johnny. What does ranking reflect mostly but reputation? It's just a numeric way of quantifying what people say in hushed voices in the halls. Certainly you can argue whether rankings accurately reflect reputation, we all have our opinions. But it's silly to say one doesn't care about the rankings, but is intensely concerned about going to the school with the best reputation. I mean, if you go ahead and rate every school according to reputation you'll have...yes a ranking!